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States Allowing Medical Marijuana Have Fewer Painkiller Deaths

swb Anti-opiate forces actually "pro pain"? (79 comments)

There's times I think that the "anti opiate" forces would be against anything that made pain sufferers feel better. It's like there's some kind of morality subtext that's really "pro pain" and opposed to feeling better (unless of course it was due to praying to Jesus).

about an hour ago
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How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech

swb Race tracks like slot car tracks (47 comments)

Why couldn't they make a race track similar to a slot car track, although without the slot?

yesterday
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

swb Re:So what was the plan? (809 comments)

Russian gas is a double-edged sword for Russia. It's economy is already on the skids, a boycott of Russian gas by the EU (to the extent is practical) makes it worse. I think the oligarchs will go a long ways with Putin but there is a point at which they might like being rich more than they fear Putin.

I also think that anything that looks like real brinksmanship with the US that could lead to a shooting war would be defused by the Chinese. On paper, they'd love to see the US and Russia beat the shit out of each other, but at the end of the day it would eviscerate the Chinese economy and lead to a ton of turmoil. China moves forward with the US and collapses without it. When push comes to shove, they will back the US over Russia because they can move forward without Russia.

2 days ago
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Euro Bank Santander Commissions Study On Bitcoin's Impact On Banking

swb Conclusions (50 comments)

"In order to continue to maintain control over the economy and manipulate financial markets, banks will probably have to get some laws passed that give us control over bitcoin."

2 days ago
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DoT Proposes Mandating Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communications

swb Re:Just wait (256 comments)

"Keep honking, I'm reloading"

3 days ago
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Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

swb Re:Flip the switch (246 comments)

It wasn't about the metaphysics, because of course, he's kind of right. Although if you listen to someone who is an actual philosophy professor with a background in metaphysics and epistemology they make pretty convincing arguments against this kind of thinking.

What bothered me was the kind of smarmy, know-it-all attitude he had.

Ironically (or not) the comment I made was based on a story I had heard told about the philosopher George Berkeley's "immaterialism". This theory denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are only ideas in the minds of perceivers, and as a result cannot exist without being perceived.

He had arrived in the rain someplace and couldn't enter because a door or gate was locked and he pounded on the door to be let in. A competing philosopher whose name I don't remember was slow in opening it and let Berkeley continue to pound on the door in the rain.

Berkeley became angry at being left in the rain and became agitated. The philosopher with whom he disagreed with yelled out "George! Calm down! Just stop perceiving the door and you'll be able to walk right in."

3 days ago
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Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

swb Re:Flip the switch (246 comments)

I was riding the bus home from the University about 20 years ago and this guy in front of me was going on and on to this girl sitting next to him, sprouting some Philosophy 101 nonsense about how "How do I know you're real, and not just a figment of my imagination?"

After about 15 minutes of this I couldn't take it anymore and I looked at the girl and said "Go ahead and punch this guy in the nose, and then ask him whether he still wonders whether you're a figment of your imagination."

3 days ago
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

swb What's the max bandwidth of coax cable? (333 comments)

And in most areas, how "full" is the coax line between my house and the fiber node? Ie, how much of the usable coax bandwidth has been allocated to cable channels, on-demand viewing, phone service, alarm monitoring, and Internet access?

Has switching from NTSC analog to all those HD channels (even though they are compressed, etc) been a net gain in usable bandwidth on the coax or just a wash?

I always just wonder if Comcast isn't just trying to keep that coax cable capable of handing TV and Internet by various means of suppressing bandwidth consumption on Internet usage.

The suck for Comcast is when that coax cable "runs out" of bandwidth and there's no room to cram yet another HD sports channel on. A project to migrate from coax to fiber would be a total nightmare for them.

I'm not trying to defend or justify anything they do, I'm sure it's at least half oriented towards nickle and diming and profiting off of manufactured scarcity but coax cable shared by many dwellings seems like a major bottleneck that will eventually have to be addressed and it will not be cheap.

4 days ago
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TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

swb Re:You had a VM w/ VLAN; TechCentral took a big ri (247 comments)

Yeah, I never got to the installation phase of anything because as you say I began to worry about what MIGHT get installed as this VM can get to my production network. They are on separate subnets but not for security reasons; I run this VM for connecting to client systems when they want VPN software installed, which is why it has its own unique public IP. A dumb subnet scanner wouldn't hurt, but something smart might.

I am tempted to spin up a special VM on a totally isolated VLAN with connectivity to anything but a dedicated firewall which would pick up a NAT address from the cable modem (and thus not compromise any of my statics, I think it gets NAT'd to my static range gateway address). I'd probably skip the snapshot and just set the disk to independent/non persistent so changes would be long-term impossible between boots.

It's still not perfect, there are potential security risks in the hypervisor, but a patched ESXi 5.5 doesn't scare me like an OS hosted hypervisor would.

What they did was crazy -- access to a live PC on their internal network? What do you bet there were cached admin credentials on it from cloning or initial setup, too.

4 days ago
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TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

swb Surprised at how abusive they can get (247 comments)

I took a call from one of these guys.

I happened to have a VM I use for testing up and running and I snapshotted it and figured I'd follow along with him just to see what he wanted done. This VM is on its own VLAN and behind its own firewall and public IP, but I kind of got cold feet about creds that could be on the machine or connectivity to my production LAN so I stopped before anything got installed (and I reverted to the snapshot, too).

Anyway, after I quit playing along I started to gently question who he said he was and the guy became really abusive and threatening, like he was going to save up for a plane ticket to fly to the US and beat me up or something if I didn't keep going. I was really kind of surprised at how far he took it.

At that point I figured dishing it out was fine, so I went full-on nasty with him and again I was surprised at his willingness to keep it up, especially considering I was pretty harsh.

4 days ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

swb Why hasn't it happened already? (233 comments)

iPhones have had the ability to be remote wiped for a long time. Yet I have not heard of a pandemic of hacker-led mass bricking of iPhones. Dirty hipsters and their iPhones have been at the center of a lot of protests yet we haven't heard of mass iPhone shutdowns by the police in response to demonstrations.

I think government/law enforcement already have the powers they physically need to fuck with cell phones. Between Stingray devices and the ability to present national security letters to carriers or service providers, if they wanted to they could get IMEIs blacklisted or get someone like Apple to brick a specific phone.

I think this just finally cuts off the ability of the cell carriers to encourage and profit from theft by activating stolen phones. Maybe if we treated AT&T stores like pawn shops and told them it was loss of their licenses and jail time for trafficking in stolen property if they activated stolen phones the kill switches wouldn't be necessary, but because corporate profits and lobbying we don't.

4 days ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

swb No different than emission standards (233 comments)

California is basically a nation-state unto itself. It is so large and relatively wealthy that when it sets standards, it often sets them for the entire nation and occasionally the world.

IIRC, auto emissions controls were one of those things California began to mandate. Not selling cars in California wasn't an option, so automakers began basically making cars that met their standards and sold them everywhere because the economies of scale made it make sense to do so.

4 days ago
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Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

swb Re:Not Net Neutrality (523 comments)

At the end of the day there are some markets in need of regulation and it seems pretty obvious that residential internet access is one of those markets that tends toward a monopoly due to the cost and size of the delivery network.

The monopolists who control it will use it to maximize their profit, as we have seen. They have a disincentive to invest in infrastructure.

What that regulation looks like is what's important. The FCC's current path is too focused on minutiae without focusing on the structural problem behind the need for regulation.

I think municipal high speed fiber is a great way to address this and is very similar to the municipal road network. High investment cost, low marginal return over time. It's not a market anyone wants to enter; while UPS would love to own the roadways, it's only profitable if they can use them to exclude competition and charge high prices.

A municipal fiber network eliminates the structural monopoly and done right (IMHO, anyway) it doesn't provide ANY service anymore than having a street in front of my house provides me with transportation services.

A municipal network would be basically a data center operation and the local fiber network. Service from the network would require content providers operating on this network, whether they be bare-bones IP connectivity or some kind of full-suite provider like Comcast who could provide video and IP.

I think "unfair competition" would come from a municipal network that also provided IP connectivity or services on this, and I don't doubt there would be some people who would claim this is a legitimate government function, needed to close some rich/poor gap by providing a consumer subsidy. I think that would be a mistake because it would really hinder innovation.

4 days ago
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Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

swb Re:Not Net Neutrality (523 comments)

I'm not sure how Marxism as an economic theory would have much of an opinion of net neutrality considering Marxism's primary economic calculus is based around the labor theory of value. Passing packets is, for all intents and purposes, totally automated and involves no labor and no surplus value.

Really the debate seems to be more around monopoly capitalism. Most broadband providers are monopolists and want use their monopoly power to enhance profits. They want to constrain data consumption to limit their capital outlay on network infrastructure. This creates scarcity that allows them to charge higher prices.

The FCC's regulation on this has been ham-handed and seems to head in the wrong direction as it wants to "fine tune" Internet access through minutia.

I think classifying the Internet is a public utility isn't really what's been advocated -- it's more along the lines of a municipal fiber network that generally eliminates the local monopoly enjoyed by most broadband providers and the artificial scarcity it creates.

The purpose of the municipal network is more akin to roads; the local network isn't designed to provide anything other than layer 2 connectivity, The city may provide roads but they don't provide actual transportation, and the better municipal broadband concepts seem to be built around open access to the network by providers who then provide services like Internet access.

The Kochs would probably argue that these systems would ultimately end up providing basic Internet access as part of the connection fee, in effect putting the government in competition with private industry. This in itself isn't an unreasonable argument but it's easily dealt with by simply prohibiting a municipal network from providing services beyond local connectivity. Koch capitalists don't have an easy solution to the monopoly problem of existing broadband delivery.

4 days ago
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Facebook Cleans Up News Feed By Reducing Click-Bait Headlines

swb Re:Facebook just changed the game (61 comments)

Cut the spam in your newsfeed with this one simple trick! Facebook hates this!

5 days ago
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Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

swb Re:Touch/button interaction? (76 comments)

Maybe it should be all voice anyway, but I find that even with a quality headset (of any type, wired, wireless) I find that in the car voice commands work poorly due to ambient noise.

Plus, a car is filled with tactile controls that are all real easy to operate while you're driving (climate controls, cruise control, windows, etc).

Complex touch controls would be a mistake (I don't want triple-tap and drag on an iPad when I'm sitting on the couch, let alone in a car) but my concern would an oversimple display-only technology is that some UI controls just wouldn't be available, which is I suppose why Apple is doing "CarPlay" modes for apps to begin with.

5 days ago
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Google Announces a New Processor For Project Ara

swb Google seems kind of serious about this (36 comments)

I think the Ara concept is pretty interesting, even if it doesn't seem too practical relative to today's integrated handsets in terms of size.

It's nice to see Google kind of pushing the envelope on this, it sounds like it could (finally) lead to the kind of modularity that more seamlessly and easily bridges handhelds, laptops and desktops with a single device.

about a week ago
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Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

swb Re:You're paying for the interface (76 comments)

I agree for the most part about even tablet apps not being "big buttons" but I think it's not quite as bad as you think.

Phones are a misleading example since the small size of the phone screen usually begs for small controls to fit as much info/functionality on one screen. I think most iPad-specific apps (or the iPad version of a dual platform app) usually have bigger controls and text than the iPhone specific version.

Plus, there's always the "zoom" accessibility feature or using an iPhone-specific app at 2x if possible. They're both cheesy ideas, sure, but the accessibility zoom is easy to use and basically magnifies everything for you.

Besides, for the most part we're only talking about basic apps you could reasonably use while driving, like Pandora, which really don't require that much button pushing.

about a week ago
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Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

swb Just buy a tablet for the car? (76 comments)

Is it me, or does it almost seem easier to just buy a damn tablet for the car and leave it there?

Big screen, easy to read maps, audio via BT, ALL my apps, not just those that someone has deigned to be OK for in-dash display (either because it passes some lame "safety" filter and/or because they have paid money to Apple/Google to get the car-integration bit enabled in their app profile).

My phone will supply the internet connectivity if I feel like shaving bucks off the cost of a model with a LTE modem/plan.

The only nuisance factor would be in-car BT telephone calls, but I'm assuming most cars can handle switching BT sources so I might have to hit a couple of extra buttons to switch BT between phone/tablet to make/take a call.

About the only bad thing is having to install a mount for the tablet (less of an issue if you go with a "mini" sized tablet) and/or the risk of getting your tablet stolen when the car is broken into, although less of an issue if you stash it out of sight when parking in riskier places and just leave an empty mount that says "not in the car".

about a week ago
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Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

swb Touch/button interaction? (76 comments)

Will VNC intelligently handle touchscreen integration? I'd like my device on the car display, but I'd like my device on my car display, along with touch screen access (and integration with other physical buttons).

But of course all of this is a solved problem as of years ago, but vendor lock-in attempts and technology "innovation" has kept this from happening.

about a week ago

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